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The Oklahoman doubles-down on anti-science agenda…

New owners. Same paper.

Last week, The Oklahoman Editorial Board – a handful of right-wing propagandists with oil stains on their knees and Harold Hamm's fracking fluid in their mouth – published a twisted, ignorant and very predictable editorial about the dire federal climate report:

Skepticism a reasonable response to climate report

A new federal report on climate change predicts dire consequences if action isn't taken. Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria.

Sorry, that's Bill Murray in “Ghostbusters.” But Murray's classic oration is only an exaggerated form of the predictions contained in the report, which include early death, food shortages and pestilence. Thus, environmentalists are dismayed that President Trump and much of the public have responded with a shrug.

In all fairness, you can't blame "environmentalists" – and, oh, all the other sane people out there who believe and follow the general teachings and findings of mainstream science – for being a tiny bit dismayed that a bunch of stupid, greedy asshats like our president willingly ignore the truth, and really don't seem to give two shits that we're polluting and destroying this planet.

If you're in the mood for a good, infuriating read that ignores all the key studies, facts and findings and other evidence that proves human consumption of fossil fuels is rapidly warming and altering the planet, I'd encourage you to check it out here.

When you're done, you also may want to check out this anti-vaccine editorial The Oklahoma published yesterday. It was written by local right-wing almost doctor (a.k.a. anesthesiologist) Steve Lantier. Although the title of the editorial suggests he's simply arguing against mandatory vaccines – something the Libertarian inside me cautiously agrees with – it was just basically an anecdotal anti-vac rant supported by cherry-picked factoids. You know, the type of article that's generally found on dark corners of the internet, and not in a statewide newspaper.

Here's a snippet:

Mandatory vaccines are bad medicine, bad politics

To anyone interested in understanding myth verses fact regarding vaccines, I would recommend the relatively new book, “How to End the Autism Epidemic” by J.B. Handley. Here are a few examples:

Vaccines are absolutely one of the causes of autism. Proof? There are thousands of documented cases of vaccines given one day, and regression into autism the next. The same aluminum adjuvant contained in many modern vaccines has been found in autopsies of autistic individuals. Also, the U.S. Vaccine Court believes vaccines cause neurologic injury. To date, the court has paid over $3.6 billion in claims.

The incidence of chronic diseases among children is epidemic — at 54 percent and rising. Most of these diseases are gut and autoimmune related. So is it just coincidence that vaccinations are designed to hyper-stimulate the immune system? Is it also coincidence that these are the exact same changes that happen to lab animals when they are tested with vaccine material?

I have friends who are very staunch anti-vaxxers. Although I think their conspiratorial, militant views on the topic are misinformed and bizarre, I really can't get too frustrated. I like to think I'm an informed, rational decision maker who trust the mainstream scientific views on medicine, science, etc., and even I'll admit the manufactured-by-conspiracy-theorists issue of vaccine safety was on the back of my mind when my daughter got her first round of shots. Even when you know it's B.S., it's hard to get that seed out of your mind once they plant it. I can see how people who make decisions on a more emotional level, or are looking for an explanation as to why their child has autism or some other disease, can be easily duped or fooled by misinformation on the internet... or an editorial in a well-established newspaper like The Oklahoman.

As is typically the case, most of The Oklahoman's own reporters took issue with their employer helping advance an anti-vaccine agenda. Some of the new ones who don't care about job security even shared them!

The following day, The Oklahoman went into damage control mode and published a retort by an expert (a.k.a. not an anesthesiologist) in the field of infectious diseases and immunology:

Point of View: Anti-vax argument has no basis in fact, science

Without a doubt, the most important achievement in human health was the discovery of vaccinations, starting with the smallpox vaccination in 1796, which saved the lives of millions of people around the world. Smallpox is now eradicated, and the deadly polio virus is virtually gone as well.

Vaccinations became a widely accepted mainstay of public health generations ago after demonstrating their power to defeat infectious diseases that took their toll on children and society. Today, vaccinations are recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The importance and effectiveness of vaccines are as close to settled science as there is. Yet we find ourselves reading claims from people who oppose immunization. Their conclusions are based on false information derived from fraudulent research conducted by biased investigators.

"Mandatory vaccines: Bad medicine and bad politics" (Point of View, Dec. 10) by anesthesiologist Steven Lantier is a dangerous compendium of opinions that have no basis in fact or science. He claims that, “Vaccines are absolutely one of the causes of autism.” Plain and simple. No equivocation and no real documentation to back it up.

Lantier is making a startling proclamation considering the billions of vaccines that have been given for more than 220 years and continue to be given safely around the world. We're not even certain of Lantier's experience or qualifications in the fields of infectious diseases or immunology. What we are certain of is that the Autism Society and the National Autism Network both recommend vaccinations for families.

Although I appreciate The Oklahoman's attempt to save a little face and publish an editorial that is rooted in facts, research and the general scientific consensus (and written by an expert), isn't the damage already done? By sharing both anti-vac and pro-vac editorials within a day of each other, you're making it appear there's a fair and equal choice between the two, when there's not. It would be like writing a misleading editorial that attempts to discredit the science behind global warming and... well... you know what? Never mind.

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